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NCAA: Judge, Jury & Executioner

The media and public got what it wanted Monday: a public hanging of the Penn State football program. 

 Penn State student Maddy Pryor and others react to
Penn State student Maddy Pryor and others react to the NCAA's sanctions against the football program. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Make no mistake the sanctions and penalties handed down by the most hypocritical group in sports was just that, a swift execution although it might take a couple of years before death as a national power is officially pronounced.

If you believe the comments of NCAA President Mark Emmert then you are sadly mistaken.  This is not about college presidents and chancellors re-taking control of their schools but rather recognizing this was a rare opportunity for them to win in the court of public opinion.  Yes, I’ll always believe that yesterday was all about posturing and public relations.


We all know that the child sex abuse scandal was a tragedy made worse by a cover-up although in truth nobody knows the full story and maybe never will.  Clearly at Penn State a select few had far too much power and sadly to say the results were somewhat catastrophic.

In listening to Dr. Emmert pontificate Monday I found myself almost laughing at times as he talked about how schools need to recognize that academics and education must come before athletics.

NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks as Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA's executive committee and Oregon State president looks on. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

This from an organization that has just approved a college football playoff system that will bring them millions and a new TV deal in which billions could be on the table.  This from a group that has student-athletes traveling from coast to coast playing late-night games on school nights.  This from a group that won’t let an athlete accept a free meal but is okay with coaches earning millions of dollars a year.

Those same coaches can move from school to school but the players they leave behind have to sit out a year if they want to transfer.



Some will say yesterday was the start of the new NCAA. I vehemently disagree.  Yesterday was an opportunity for a money-hungry group to finally throw the negative somewhere else and they did just that.  Don’t get me wrong, Penn State deserved to be penalized but not the public humiliation that was delivered which impacted the past, present and future of what’s been a shining example of a school that’s maintained a balance of academics and athletics.

Monday the NCAA took the role of judge, jury and executioner.  If that’s what they are going to be from now on then good for them but don’t expect it.  They now have to turn their attention to negotiating those big money deals because after all…it’s all about the money.

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